I recently had the privilege of accompanying Dr. and Mrs. Mortel to St. Marc, Haiti to witness and participate in the 15th year anniversary celebration of the opening of Les Bons Samaritains School. Although it was my second trip to St. Marc and my second experience spending time at the school and with the children, it was nonetheless an experience that continued to heighten my respect and awe for the honorable work being done by the Mortel Family Charitable Foundation on behalf of the children of St. Marc, Haiti.

It is indeed an experience I will always remember: the sights, sounds, words, touches, and feelings will forever impact my own life, serving to remind me that I have a responsibility to give back to help others who are in need.

So, what did I experience on this trip?

The sight of so many children with pride on their faces as they lined up for the celebratory parade through town is an experience that will always remain in my memory. The sight of the children smiling joyously as they welcomed us to their school and classrooms remains in my heart. The sight of the children as they sang their school’s theme song over and over again, with such enthusiasm and pride, was touching to witness. The sight of the teachers and parent volunteers working hard with such happiness and kindness on their faces was an inspiration to see.

The sounds of the children’s voices in the church choir during Mass, the sounds of the children and teachers’ voices as they marched through the streets of St. Marc during the parade, and the sweet sounds of their singing as they performed in the evening performances all filled my heart with love and warmth. The sounds of their laughter will remain with me always.

The words of gratitude that I heard extended to Dr. Mortel from both the adults and the children of The Good Samaritan for all that he has given back was and is more than inspiring and provides me with hope for the future of our world. His commitment to education as a key to improving the lives of Haitians resonates with me personally as an educator, and I am literally awestruck by his resolve to improve the lives of children through selfless and tireless efforts and enthusiasm.

The touches I will always remember. The small hands that grasped mine as we marched and sang through the streets of St. Marc in the celebratory parade, the handshakes of the parents who expressed their gratitude to us during the evening celebration, and the taps on the arm to get my attention from the many children who simply wanted to connect with us in some way remain in my heart.

15th year anniversary celebration of the opening of Les Bons Samaritains School
15th year anniversary celebration of the opening of Les Bons Samaritains School

So, what did I experience? I experienced overwhelming feelings of goodness. Goodness that comes from people wanting to help other people; goodness in the innocent faces of children who are grateful for what is being done for them, and goodness in the hearts and minds of both Haitians and Americans who share this world and hope for a better future for all children.

I will forever cherish my experience celebrating the 15th year of the Les Bons Samaritians School and ask you to join me in helping to support The Mortel Family Charitable Foundation!